My daughter is having a Halloween party tonight, and I want it be as fuss-free as possible. These are 17 and 18 year olds, so I'm planning to just put out a few bowls of chips, dip, pretzels, candy, and order a few pizzas, depending on how many kids show up. Ideally, I'd like to just bring everything down to our finished basement, set it out on the table, and let the kids help themselves.
For serve-yourself dessert, there's nothing better than cupcakes--no hassle with cutting into a cake, deciding how big to make the pieces, having that ONE person who says, "Oh, well, okay, maybe just a SLIVER" and of course the sliver is never quite thin enough. Yeah, cupcakes are the way to go.
I used boxed Devil's Food Cake for the cupcakes, making two adjustments to the recipe instructions: I added boiling water to the cake mix (stirring well before adding any of the other ingredients--didn't want to cook the eggs) because I've heard that helps the chocolate flavor "bloom" better than if you use room temperature or cold water. I did seem to make a difference, because the final product was tasted great. I also substituted some unsalted butter in place of half the oil, to add richness without it being too dense.
As for the frosting, I hedged my bets and bought two kinds: regular white frosting, and
the spray can type that comes with a flat ribbon tip. After cupcakes were completely cooled, I used the regular frosting to cover most of the cupcake, leaving a crescent-shaped opening for the eyes (which got smaller after the bandages were added). Then I stuck on the eyes in the empty spot using a small dollop of frosting, and handed it off to my husband to pipe on the frosting "bandages" with the spray-on cupcake frosting. In his own words, it was a lot of fun to do, because "you can't screw it up." The messier and more random the bandages look, the better.
Of course, we had to sample one or two, for "quality control" purposes. They passed with flying colors! This will definitely be my go-to choice for Halloween desserts from now on.